Adhesive Backing Classes
For reflectivity photometrics, retro reflective tapes are rated 1 – 11. This is all relative to the front or reflecting side of the tape. The opposite side of the tape is also important and is broken down into 5 basic adhesive backing classes. The list below outlines the 5 types.
Class 1 – Self Adhesive Backing (Standard Temperatures) – This adhesive backing class is pressure sensitive for application to hard surfaces. Installation does not require heat, solvent, or any other prep for installation onto a smooth, clean surface. It is a simple peel, stick, and press on procedure. This class of backing is the most common one by far.
Class 2 – Heat Applied Adhesive Backing (Heat Press Applied) – This adhesive backing is an adhesive that is activated by applying heat and pressure simultaneously to the material while it is on a substrate. This is normally accomplished with a heat press machine. The temperature necessary to form a durable permanent bond shall be a no less than 150 degrees fahrenheit. Until heat applied to a substrate, Class 2 material should be repositionable under normal conditions with the substrate at temperatures not more than 100°F without damaging to the material. Class 2 materials can have perforations so air can escape in heat-vacuum laminators, but the perforations must be such that when the sheeting is printed, they do not cause noticeable blemishes.
Class 3 – Self Adhesive Backing Class (Repositionable) – This adhesive backing class is a repositionable low-tack pressure sensitive adhesive that needs no heat, solvent, or other preparation for adhesion to clean, smooth surface or substrate. It shall be able to be repositioned at temperatures no greater than 100°F (38°C) without damage to the material.
Class 4 – Self Adhesive Backing (Low Temperature) – This adhesive backing is a low temperature, pressure sensitive adhesive, formulated for cold temperatures that allows application at temperatures down to + 20° Fahrenheit (−7° Centigrade) without the need for heat, solvents, or other prep for installation on smooth, dry, clean substrates.
Class 5 – Non Adhesive Backing Class – (For Roll Up Signs & Products) This type of backing is non adhesive and is commonly found on sheeting used for products that are self supporting such as slip on traffic cone collars, temporary roll-up warning signs on stands, and reflective post bands.
Steven Cole (Economics, MBA – University of West Florida , Business & Innovation – Stanford University) 25 years of experience in the reflective safety business. Specializing in vehicle accident and rear end collision reduction through increased visibility.